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U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Best Christmas Vacations

U.S. News Best Vacations Badge

Whether you're seeking a festive yuletide getaway or want to experience ancient holiday traditions, you'll find it in these vacation destinations. U.S. News considered factors like culture, seasonality and entertainment options, as well as reader votes, to determine which cities offer the best setting for a Christmas vacation. Have a favorite Christmastime getaway? Vote below to help determine next year's ranking.

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#1 Prague

#1 in Best Christmas Vacations

During December, the capital of the Czech Republic turns into a winter wonderland you've got to see to believe. Twinkling lights blanket the city's medieval architecture, and its Christmas markets are some of the best in the world. Plus, many of Prague's attractions are free, so you won't have to spend a fortune to sightsee. Read More »

skyline View 14 photos
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#2 New York City

#2 in Best Christmas Vacations

The Big Apple knows how to get in the holiday spirit, bookending the season with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and the New Year's Eve ball drop and celebration in Times Square. You'll be enchanted with ice skating at Bryant Park, snapping pictures of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and taking in the elaborate window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. Read More »

Buzzing Times Square View 75 photos
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#3 Taos, NM

#3 in Best Christmas Vacations

For a twist on the traditional Christmas, consider spending the holidays in this small town 70 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Snow-covered adobe buildings dot the historic downtown, and handmade gifts are available at the Taos Folk pop-up store. The roster of unique events includes bonfires on Bent Street, which features traditional Aztec dancers.

Taos
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#4 Vienna

#4 in Best Christmas Vacations

This Austrian city teems with Christmas markets. For travelers, the most unforgettable market is Rathausplatz, which features the neo-Gothic city hall as its backdrop. While you're perusing the market for unique gifts, look for snow globes – they were invented in Vienna. Read More »

Vienna Skyline View 20 photos
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#5 Reykjavik

#5 in Best Christmas Vacations

While Icelanders do not believe in Santa Claus (the 13 Yule lads are the ones who dole out gifts to well-behaved children), their country's capital is awash with holiday spirit every December. Travelers can feast on a seasonal meal of fermented skate, a particularly pungent fish dish whose aroma permeates the air on Christmas Eve. And you won't want to miss ice skating at festive Ingolfstorg Square. Read More »

Sun Voyager (Sólfar) View 18 photos
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#6 London

#6 in Best Christmas Vacations

The list of holiday-related activities in London is endless. Travelers can experience a 19th-century Christmas by listening to a reading of "A Christmas Carol" at the Charles Dickens Museum, pick up some gifts at Camden Market, sing carols at the historic St. Paul's Cathedral and meet Father Christmas at Royal Albert Hall. Read More »

London in the Sun View 62 photos
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#7 Park City

#7 in Best Christmas Vacations

Festive singalong shows at Park City's iconic Egyptian Theatre are guaranteed to get even the most Grinch-like travelers into the holiday spirit. The city's most memorable event is the Christmas Eve Torchlight Parade, where ski and snowboard instructors carry red torches down a mountain while the rest of the town celebrates at the base. Read More »

Fresh Powder View 26 photos
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#8 Quebec City

#8 in Best Christmas Vacations

Can't hop across the pond for a European holiday? This Canadian city is the next best thing. Come December, the quaint stone buildings and narrow, winding streets of Old Québec, outfitted with decorations and lights, inspire glee. Take your kids to meet Santa in the Petit Champlain District or go ice skating at Place D'Youville. Read More »

Snowy Quebec View 33 photos
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#9 San Miguel de Allende

#9 in Best Christmas Vacations

Cobblestone streets and incredible architecture define San Miguel de Allende, while seasonal touches like trees and lights give the city a festive tint. You will be amazed by the sense of tradition that radiates from monuments like the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel around Christmas. Plan for a long trip to experience the numerous holidays celebrated here in the month of December. Read More »

Colorful Buildings and Cobblestone Streets View 14 photos
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#10 Amsterdam

#10 in Best Christmas Vacations

You'll feel the holiday spirit no matter where you go thanks to Amsterdam's annual light festival, which stretches throughout the city center and along its famous canals. After strolling or biking along the Canal Ring and the River Amstel, wander into a cozy pub for some traditional poffertjes (Dutch pancakes) and appeltaart (apple pie). Read More »

Herengracht Canal View 44 photos
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Holland, MI

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Charleston

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Barbados

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Edinburgh

View from Calton Hill

Edinburgh

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